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Getting travelers from Point A to Point B is a steadfast goal of car rental companies, and the industry is shifting towards giving travelers an experience along their route, rather than only offering global positioning system navigation.
Hertz’s NeverLost Companion app, which launched in August, integrates with the already existing NeverLost navigation system, and gives travelers the tools to see points of interest along their routes and learn about trendy restaurants and events happening at their destinations.
The app points out specific sites along a route, but it won’t explain history or add extensive commentary about a place as a full-fledge audio tour would.
“It’s not an ongoing narrative, it’s more of a do-it-yourself self-paced tour,” said Graham Weedon, a spokesperson for Hertz NeverLost. “We have a Bonnie and Clyde tour in Texas that app users can do, for example, which points out places relevant to their stories, and the best thing about the app is that we’re able to show you high-resolution images.”
The iOS and Android app, has more than 40 free downloadable city guides that enable travelers to plan a trip ahead of time and save it to a folder that’s synced with the NeverLost system using cloud and Bluetooth technology.
App users get a download code to enter into the NeverLost system in their car, which allows your pre-planned route and itinerary to integrate with the system.
“The Bluetooth tech is one of the new things we’re introducing so that the info from the app on your phone is shared instantly with NeverLost,” said Weedon. “Hertz prefers drivers to not have to engage with the app while driving, and the seamless integration makes it so that all the info you want goes through NeverLost so it’s hands-free.”
These features help to better personalize and explain a trip, and signify standard navigation alone is no longer an instrument that will impress car rental customers.
“Route guidance is a commodity, but all the related travel services are how we enhance a customer’s trip, through online trip planning, free concierge-style support, custom content for special interests and more,” said Weedon.
Tens of thousands of people cite NeverLost as a preference in their customer profiles at Hertz, Weedon says, and 20% of the Hertz fleet, or 80,000 cars, have it installed.
The app also allows users to share their trip-planning files on social media and is considered an update to Hertz’s My Explore apps, Weedon said.
Weedon added Hertz is exploring how the app might integrate with the company’s loyalty programs used by business travelers.